And then there were three … part one
This is the story about my new son’s entrance into this world. When I first started writing it, it was a single post about the birth and my reaction to it, but it quickly became clear that it would be more than one post. And then my son became poorly, it got put on hold, and when, four weeks later, I picked it up again to finish the story, it became a self-indulgent series of posts about our very difficult first seven weeks. And I make no apology for that. I needed to do it. I wrote it more for myself than for anyone reading. I also need to say that I know lots of parents have far more than this to cope with and I am lucky by comparison. But this was not about telling people how bad things have been, it’s been about exorcising demons, sorting my head, making sense of the last 7 weeks. Here’s part 1.
My third child was born a week before Christmas. I’d had a relatively straight-forward, if tiring, pregnancy although, as expected, I developed gestational diabetes towards the end, as I had during the previous two pregnancies.
For several reasons, not least of which was two previous emergency caesarean sections, I opted to have a caesarean section at 39 weeks. I desperately wanted to give birth normally, but previous experience had shown that this was unlikely to happen and so I took the decision to avoid another emergency.
After we were given a date for the delivery of our baby, my husband and I made our arrangements – arranging family members to look after our other two children, and arranging annual leave and paternity leave for my husband. Twelve days before our date, I received a phone call, asking if the date could be changed and brought forward five days. Slightly panicked at having almost a week slashed off the time I had left to get everything ready, we re-arranged everything, only to be told later that day that the date had been changed again and would now be one day before our original date!
We arrived at hospital at the appointed time and went to the labour ward as instructed, only to be told there was no bed for me, as they were so busy, and they put me down on the delivery ward to wait the few hours until the section would take place. While we waited, and in between having bloods taken and a cannula inserted in my arm, we heard three women give birth – they really were busy!
Having had two previous sections, one being a “real” emergency including a general anaesthetic and people running around in a panic, and the other being classed as an emergency because it followed a failed induction, which was really a rather calm affair, I was confident I knew what to expect. That’s not to say I wasn’t nervous though – I knew there was a rather large needle in my very near future by way of a spinal, and I was not looking forward to it at all. However, I recall the second section being quite quick and calm. This third section began in much the same way, with lots of people calmly telling me what was happening or was about to happen. And there was where the similarities ended.
I began feeling unwell, a little queasy and a little bit “out of it”. There was a lot more pulling and pushing going on than I remembered from the previous time, and it seemed to last forever. In fact, this first bit, which was over so quickly before, took 45 minutes – 45 minutes to get my son out. An hour or so before the section began, I’d had a scan and he was transverse, but by the time we got to the operating theatre, he had moved (again) and was breech. He had his head tucked up behind my ribs and before anything could be done to remove him, the team first had to manipulate him into a better position. I was told a couple of days later that this was not helped by the fact that my womb slopes backwards – not a huge amount, but enough to cause them problems. All the pushing, pulling and tugging that was going on was really uncomfortable, although I couldn’t feel any pain and before long I was vomiting in the operating theatre.
Eventually, my son was born and they were checking him over and calling over to me that he was healthy. My husband brought him over to me to see. When he did this with my daughter the last time round, I was able to hold her (with help) whilst I was stitched back together, but this time I couldn’t. I was still feeling woozy and felt like I was drifting in and out of sleep. To turn my head sideways so that I could see my son made me feel really sick. Whilst my husband sat next to me and held our son, the midwife commented that she thought he had a minor tongue tie, and they would refer us to a clinic to have it looked at.
Eventually, we finished in the theatre and I was taken to recovery and got some skin-on-skin time with my son and was able to feed him for the first time.